Despite the various technologies in place for genotyping human papillomaviruses (HPV), clinical use and clinical research demand a method that is fast, more reliable and cost-effective. The technology described here represents a breakthrough development in that direction. By combining the method of multiple sequencing primers with DNA sequencing, we have developed a rapid assay for genotyping HPV that relies on the identification of a single, type-specific ‘sentinel’ base. As described here, the prototype assay has been developed to recognize the 12 most high-risk HPV types (HPV-16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58 and 59) and is capable of recognizing and simultaneously genotyping multiple HPV co-infections. By providing sequence information on multiple HPV infections, this method eliminates the need for labor- and cost-intensive PCR cloning. These proof-of-concept studies establish the assay to be accurate, reliable, rapid, flexible, and cost-effective, providing evidence of the feasibility this technique for use in clinical settings.